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Friday, 15 June 2012

Look like a girl, act like a lady

I should probably do the third one a little bit more, ooh and the second one. Think I've got the first one pretty much covered, and to prove my point, I've just decided to make this post about makeup.Lisa Eldridge (best makeup artist ever! google her website and have a look at her videos, they're incredible) did a video a few months ago about the best budget buys for makeup.

I love Benefit, Mac, Chanel, Clinique and all the big makeup brands - really do adore them, but just not the pricetags! My money could easily be poured onto makeup alone and so I'm trying to go for the more superdrug brands. If they're good enough for Lisa Eldridge, they're good enough for me!

As I love lists, this is the list of my to-buy products once all my makeup has run out.
 1. Bourjois Little Round Pot Blush, Rose d'Or
2. Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation
3. Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara
4. Revlon matte lipstick
5. Revlon luxurious colour eyeliner
6. Colourstay quad eyeshadow in gorgeous smoky colours

That is pretty much all the makeup I need, plus a pretty makeup bag from 

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' was my AS Level text and for anyone who hasn't read it, I would highly recommend it. It's the most beautifully crafted story that's almost a post-apocalyptic fairytale, written very simply and without any punctuation but full stops. The form of writing takes a while to get used to but after the first few pages, the book is utterly mesmerising. About the relationship between the father and son, it's a poignant struggle for survival. There are 'the good guys' and then 'the bad guys', the terrifying 'bloodcults' who have turned to cannibalism and depravity just a year after the apocalypse takes place. It's an exploration into good and evil, just like any good book, but it goes deeper than that. There are elements of beauty in this new world, a world that is 'barren', 'grey' and 'godless', but with features of the old world dropped in, like the 'causeways' and the burnt down cars.

Reading it can be quite depressing - for much of it, it seems like everything can only ever just worse. The food is running out, the days are getting darker and colder, the man gets sicker and the boy's innocence fades. No longer does he react emotionally to the bodies that are burnt to doorways like leather; he abandons the few toys that he has and he stops being curious about the world. Yet even in all the darkness of this novel, what remains is the essential goodness of the boy - a boy that always want to help the people that he meets on the road, from a man struck by lightning even to to the man that steals their belongings on the beach. Although the man tries to bring routine and society into the boy's life, reading him bedtime stories and teaching him how to survive, what the reader does not see the man do is teach the boy to help others. In fact, the man tries to teach him the opposite - sharing food means starvation, talking to another traveller on the road means walking blindly into a trap. The emphasis that McCarthy places on the boy's giving nature and fundamental love for humanity despite the suffering that he has seen gives hope to the novel, hope that in an apocalypse, goodness will still exist.

Penguin English Library

Penguin English Library - image from google
I don't know whether you've heard about this yet but Penguin have just released an English Library collection of books - a capsule collection of 100 of the best English fiction published since 1800, with a particular emphasis on Hardy and Dickens. The covers are very pretty, my favourites being Lady Audley's Secret and Great Expectations, and would look great on a bookcase. I really want to collect them, a book a week, but just know that once I start I won't be able to stop until I have all 100. That might be somewhat hard on the bank balance, at £5.30 a pop - perfectly affordable, but all 100? £530. I could get a Mulberry bag for that, and that's another thing I've been lusting after for the last few days but know I can never have, not until I've got a proper job!

The last two weeks of work experience have made me realise what I want to do - not marketing, but journalism and writing. Each day, I've been set a 1500 word article on a particular topic and it's been absolute bliss: cups of tea, coffee, slices of rocky road, comfortable chairs, beautiful view of the sodden English countryside, not to mention the most gorgeous puppy I have ever seen, who looks just like a (very) oversized teddy bear!

Exeter open day

Exeter Cathredal
On Tuesday, I visited Exeter open day. I know the city pretty well as my grandparents live close by in one of the sleepy towns hugging the Devonshire coast. It's a beautiful city - we went to the quay, somewhere I had not been before, and watched the boats. Then we strolled through the shops, picked up a coffee at the Boston tea shop, popped inside the cathredal to look at the ancient flags and beautiful ceiling - wondering why, with all our technology today, we don't build such magnificent buildings anymore. So after pretty much falling in love with the city, we then went into the university. Everything was incredible inside, really really lovely. Just want to study English literature there now!


So after a few days of trawling through twitter websites for market research at work experience, I've decided to get twitter (for the second time, last time I didn't get it). I have the grand total of one follower after ten minutes, which I am actually quite proud of! It took me ages to write the little piece of text underneath as well - eventually I settled for 'aspiring writer and journalist. lover of books, baking and beautiful things'. Think that pretty much sums me up.

Follow me at Emma_Pegg3!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Nigella Lawson's Rocky Road

My lovely friend Ellie makes this rocky road and it’s gorgeous. Based on a Nigella Lawson recipe, the rough and tumble of sandy buttery biscuit, nuggets of soft pillowy marshmallow and folds of silky melted chocolate is unapologetically indulgent. The recipe used is this one ( but any biscuits found in the cupboards can be used, from ginger nuts to biscotti and the plain digestive. I've found that children tend to like even sweeter versions of this, so instead of using all milk chocolate or all dark, melt together a big Cadburys milk chocolate bar and then a smaller one of Bourneville. Some broken up honeycomb shards of crunchie bar are also amazing in this.

Lord of the Flies, William Golding

I finally got round to reading Lord of the Flies a couple of weeks ago and even though it was perhaps one of the hardest books to read emotionally (up there with Lionel Shriver's 'We Need to Talk about Kevin' and Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road'), it was fabulous and a book that I really wished I had studied at GCSE.

It’s a fable that ultimately explores what humanity really bubbles down to when society and rules are peeled away. The book was written in 1954, a time when the world was still reeling after the horrors of the Second World War, a war that revealed the dangers inherent in racism. It showed thousands and thousands of ordinary civilians committing the most terrible of acts, leading to the almost liquidation of an entire race. Why? Research into social influence has tried to explain this, given reasons such as people acting in an agentic state, the idea of graduated commitment and the role of an authoritarian personality. It also suggests the combined importance of inter-group hostility, self-justification and blaming the victim, as well as motivational factors such as protecting their families. As well as World War Two, there was the growing threat of the atomic bomb and the extent of the destruction that it could cause. It seemed inevitable then that William Golding would have believed that humanity was ultimately destructive and would eventually turn on itself, even in a group of young schoolboys stranded on an island, with no adults, no authority, and no sense of society.

One of the best things about the book is the way that William Golding tells the story so simply yet so effortlessly beautifully – each thing takes on a meaning, from the conch being symbolic of the society that the boys try to bring into the island, to the imagery of the tree with fruit and flowers growing of it, making the forest representative of a Garden of Eden with its religious connotations of original sin and temptation. There is also the exploration of Freudian ideas of the id, ego and superego, all tying neatly into AS psychology.

I was talking with my friends about what would happen if instead of boys, there were girls on the island. We concluded that the girls would generally try to cling onto society more than the boys in the book and whilst they might turn savage, they wouldn't go so far as to kill each other - I suppose, linking to the quote that if girls ran the world, there'd be no war. Then if there was just one girl and many other boys, a concept which I think would have been really interesting for Golding to explore, the girl would probably be objectified to some extent and used as a status thing for the two boys competing for leadership and power.

If you haven't read it, you really must! It gave me a whole new perspective on life, as ultimately everything can be pared down to what it would be like on an island. Even a theme such as materialism can arguably lie in the use of shells for necklaces and the quality of houses that they build and fight over.

Quick update! New job and work experience

Finished exams, at last, and since last Saturday, I've finally got a part time job at my local pub and have got work experience in public relations and advertising lined up to start tomorrow, which I am really excited about. And of course, today is the Diamond Jubilee and the village street party. I made a pavlova with a Union Jack flag made up of blueberries, strawberries and lightly whipped cream as my contribution to the occasion - photo should come up soon, as soon as it's loaded.

Sorry for the short post but without it, there would be thirteen posts and I don't really like that number! x

The appeal of living in the country

(This is just a short piece that I wrote about the appeal of the countryside when I wanted to write but wasn't sure what to write about - it's quite rambling.)

Living in the country is an idea that many of us hold close to our hearts, but asking why this is – why country living holds so much appeal – is difficult to explain. I am not a practical person but to shortly list the realities of country life would be pretty easy – to start with, the sheer cost of petrol and the lack of buses mean that it’s not very cost effective to pop out to the shops to buy some milk it’s suddenly ran out, each journey must be planned and everything generally takes much longer (although, it must be said that it would be considerably quicker than travelling in the centre of London, or any city centre for that matter).

Country living evokes feelings of nostalgia, looking back or imagining a childhood spent feeding horses handfuls of grass or sitting on top of hay bales, watching the sun rise and the sun set over a patchwork landscape of green and bright yellow fields. It brings up the sense of community that is so often lost in cities and towns, where people don’t smile or say hello because there are just so many people, all walking quickly down the streets to different places for different ends. It is of course also tied heavily to the homes where people do live in the country – whether it’s the chocolate box cottages, the farmhouses with original fireplaces and floorboards to lust after, or the perfectly ordinary houses with beautiful views. It’s the wild flowers on the windowsill that look like they’ve been freshly picked from the garden, whether they have been or not, or the kitchen that’s filled with the warm comforting smell of yeast from an afternoon spent baking bread.

Arguably, it’s about a certain lifestyle. Keeping chickens, pigs or even bees, growing vegetables or keeping a pot of herbs on the windowsill, are all stepping stone towards being self-sufficient – something that would be essential back when transport was not so easy to come by. Walking dogs, especially two or three black Labradors – what seems the staple to a country house existence – attending gatherings to celebrate anything from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to the aftermath of the village fete, and not forgetting having everyone know everyone else’s business (even to whether Mrs Pots is having roast beef for supper or if the vicar was right and she was cooking roast pork and apple after all).  

Ultimately, however, the undeniable appeal of country living is perhaps a throwback to a time gone by – a time which seems simpler, maybe just because we didn’t live it, and altogether prettier. It’s gentler, it’s relaxing, and it’s pure unadulterated escapism. What’s extra nice is that I still love the village where I live even after years of living there, suggesting that the allure is timeless. Even though we still don’t keep chickens and don’t live in the perfect pretty cottage yet (the walls still half-painted, the unsightly plumbing in the bathroom still there – the list goes on and on), as well as the whole one hundred village ‘natives’ living generally in fleeces and grubby wellington boots, it is quite lovely and actually rather beautiful.